How To Start An Online Business On A Shoestring

January 29, 2013, 10:55 am Karina May Yahoo!7

Starting a business for $200 doesn't sound possible, does it? A new outfit? Maybe. But a whole business? Here's how.

How To Start An Online Business On A Shoestring

Starting a business for $200 doesn't sound possible, does it? A new outfit? Maybe. But a whole business? We’ll show you how to get started.

You'll be surprised to learn that with a little hard work and lots of know how, you can actually get a great business idea off the ground for just $200.

Smart spending – without cutting any corners – will give your business the best possible start. Here’s what should be at the top of your business shopping list, the must-have items and what are optional extras.

Can-Do Attitude

It sounds odd, but when starting out one of the most useful tools you can be armed with is something money can't buy. A can-do attitude. While the momentum of your new endeavour may see you through the first few days, if you're in for the long haul having an unwavering, sustained belief in your business idea is absolutely essential.

Business Name

Once you have the right mindset, it's time to decide on a business name. Again, this costs nothing (until you register it) but can be crucial to the success of your business.

You need to come up with an informative name that encompasses your brand in a couple of words so customers know straight away what your business is about. You also need it to be memorable – something people will talk about, without being too obscure.

You want your customers to be able to find you easily, so resist the urge to get really clever with catchy puns and metaphors.

URL

There are some expenses you should never skimp on when starting a business, so before cracking open your piggy bank it's essential to identify your immediate business needs to ensure you're targeting your cash on something worthwhile. And with so much business being driven by the internet, these days securing a domain name should be a top priority.

Forty bucks should be enough to cover the cost of a “.com.au” URL for around two years. While it might be tempting to opt for a cheaper domain name, the “.com.au” suffix is widely known and only given to businesses that are legitimately Australian, so will help bolster your credibility.

If a rich relative pops up unexpectedly to invest in your business, it's a good idea to splash the extra cash on a varied menu of URLs. While a little pricier than local domains, the “.com” suffix is useful for blocking competition.

You could also capture extra traffic by taking advantage of the common misspellings of your URL and securing “typo” domains then re-directing traffic back to your site.

Web & Email Hosting

The next step is to find someone to host your website and set up an email account. There’s a range of free email services available - such as gmail, hotmail and yahoo mail - which offer plenty of storage and effective spam filtering.

To further enhance your business' credibility, it's worth spending money to establish an email account that's consistent with your domain name. You can usually save a few dollars by finding a deal for both your email and web hosting, a basic package will cost around $80 per year.

If you have the funds to get a web developer or web designer on board, then they may be happy to host your website for a limited time – normally 3 to 12 months – free of change. But to receive this perk you'll have to spend up big initially. The cost of just a simple website is around $1,300.

You’ve now secured a business and domain name, locked in reliable email and web hosting and have a website, so you’re well on your way to creating a successful business!

Remember, the first stage of setting up a business is more about the elbow grease than hardcore spending.

Have you set up an online outfit? Come share your experience!